Dec. 17, 1944: The Packers' final championship title under Curly Lambeau
TITLE 6 of 13: Packers Cop Pro Title With 14-7 Triumph Over Giants
Editor's note:This story was originally published Dec. 18, 1944.
New York, N.Y. – The football championship of the world remained in the West today when Green Bay’s Packers matched the bruising might of the game’s greatest defense and conquered the New York Giants, 14 to 7.
A sun bathed crowd of 46,016 saw the Packers win their sixth world’s championship and their third since the inception of the playoff series in 1932 with two touchdowns in the second period, then stave off a fighting Giant eleven in the second half. The Giants’ only score came on the first play of the fourth period on a 1-yard plunge by Ward Cuff.
The Packers today were a team to be proud of. They accepted the challenge with relish and proceeded from the opening kickoff to outfight and outcharge the Giants. Joe Laws, almost as old as the Polo grounds, sparked an attack that featured Ted Fritsch, Paul Berezney, Charlie Brock and Larry Craig. And, of course, there was Don Hutson, who gets an assist on the game winning score. His deft faking pulled the experienced Mel Hein, Ward Cuff and rookie Howie Livingston out of position to permit the touchdown pass to Fritsch.
On this day the Packers were high and vicious. They were playing for a championship and all that went with it. In money the victory meant $41,896.64 for them from the record players’ poll of $81,466.51. The Giants’ share was $27,931.91.
In addition, the Packers’ reward includes the right to appear in the Chicago All-Star game next August, a contest in which they have made two appearances and have a .500 record.
The story of the game is wrapped up in the statistics. Against the finest defensive team in football, one which went through a 10 game major league schedule on a yield of 75 points, including five shutouts, they piled up 162 yards rushing and only 73 passing. Nine of their 11 first downs were through New York’s vaunted line. Only 11 times did the Packers go to the air and they completed only three of these attempts. The rest of the time it was Laws, Comp, Fritsch, and (Paul) Duhart bolting through the holes where Packer linemen were bodily tossing Giants out of their way and scampering over the lunging figures of puzzled Giant secondary men.
It was sweet revenge for the 24 to 0 thing perpetrated on the Western Division champions here some four weeks ago – and it was revenge with a sting.
HUTSON SNARES ONE
The Packers began their first concerted drive midway in the first period when Comp took (Len) Younce’s punt back nine yards to the Packers’ 44-yard line. The first play was a pass, Comp to Hutson, who fooled the Giant defenders completely and Comp hit him expertly in the flat. But Hutson slipped after making the catch and slid out of bounds with a 22-yard gain.
Comp’s protection miscued on the next pass and he was hit from a blind side just as he let the ball go and Younce intercepted the throw.
LAWS BREAKS LOOSE
An exchange of punts ended the quarter and set up the stage for the first Packer touchdown. On the opening play of the second period, Laws broke inside the Giants’ left tackle and bolted 21 yards to the Giants’ 23-yard line. On the next play Fritsch smashed his way through the same hole, broke into the clear. At the 10-yard line he met Cuff head on, bounced the Giant out of the path and kept going until Livingston brought him down from behind on the 1-yard line.
Laws slipped trying to score on first down. Fritsch lost a yard and Laws was held for no gain. After a time out, during which (Lou) Brock replaced Laws, Fritsch charged straight ahead behind (Charley) Brock, (Buckets) Goldenberg and (Bill) Kuusisto and went over. Hutson added the extra point.
The Packers came back from this touchdown prepared for greater effort. They throttled the Giants completely, then in the final minutes got their own offense together for their second touchdown.
After Laws returned Younce’s punt 11 yards to the Packers’ 38-yard line, Comp was dumped for a yard loss. Laws got back the yard and three more off tackle. Comp then whipped a 25-yard pass to Laws for a first down on the Giants’ 29-yard line. Fritsch bulled his way for three yards inside (Al) Blozis.
GIANTS GET FOOLED
The next play found Hutson starting from right end and racing into the deep flat. He was in the clear, but the pass fell five yards behind him. The next play from all intents and purposes was identical. Hutson was in the clear to the right again and the Giants were following him attentively. Comp faked to the lanky end, then wheeled and passed to Fritsch on the other side. He took the ball on the 5 and dashed over. It was a gain of 26 yards and with Hutson’s successful kick gave the Packers a 14 to 0 lead.
There was no letup in the Packers’ attack in the second half, but the Giants, who had been roundly rocked in the first half, fought back with more gusto and succeeded finally in making some headway offensively.
CUFF GOES OVER
Arnie Herber, who was having some difficulty keeping Packer lineman out of his hair, finally got away a long pass on the last play of the period. Comp had end Frank Liebel covered perfectly on the 10-yard line, but as he reached to intercept, his feet went out from under him on the frozen turf and the ball sailed over him into Leibel’s arms. Fritsch finally hauled Liebel down on the 1-yard line as the quarter ended.
Cuff smashed over center on the first play of the fourth quarter and Ken Strong kicked the extra point.
Thereafter it was a dog fight, with the Giants providing the only sustained drive of the last quarter when they put together three first downs, two running and one passing, for a 38-yard advance before Duhart intercepted Herber’s pass. The Packers had the ball at the end of the game, having taken it on downs at midfield when the Giants tried a fourth down shovel pass maneuver, Herber to Cuff. It gained four yards but missed by three of being a first down.
List of NFL champions
1944 Green Bay Packers
1943 Chicago Bears
1942 Washington Redskins
1941 Chicago Bears
1940 Chicago Bears
1939 Green Bay Packers
1938 New York Giants
1937 Washington Redskins
1936 Green Bay Packers
1935 Detroit Lions
1934 New York Giants
1933 Chicago Bears
1932 Chicago Bears
1931 Green Bay Packers
1930 Green Bay Packers
1929 Green Bay Packers
1928 Providence Steam Roller
1927 New York Giants
1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets
1925 Chicago Cardinals
1924 Cleveland Bulldogs
1923 Canton Bulldogs
1922 Canton Bulldogs
1921 Chicago Staleys
1920 Akron Pros
Packers' championship titles
1. Dec. 8, 1929: The Green Bay Packers' first league title
2. Dec. 14, 1930: Tie clinches second straight championship
3. Nov. 29, 1931: Punter/halfback Verne Lewellen helps secure third title
4. Dec. 13, 1936: Green Bay's first championship decided by a post-season game
5. Dec. 10, 1939: Fifth title dubbed the Dairy Bowl
6. Dec. 17, 1944: The Packers' final championship under Curly Lambeau
7. Dec. 31, 1961: Vince Lombardi's first NFL title
8. Dec. 30, 1962: Packers still champs as Ray Nitschke leads way
9. Jan. 2, 1966:1st of 3 straight Packers titles began with 'Mud Bowl'
10. Jan. 15, 1967: Packers beat Chiefs to win Super Bowl I
11. Jan. 14, 1968: Packers rout Raiders to repeat as Super Bowl champions
12. Jan. 26, 1997: Power and the Glory. Packers win Super Bowl XXXI.
13. Feb. 6, 2011: Packers survive injuries to beat Steelers in Super Bowl XLV